“I didn’t sleep properly last night,” says Richard Madden, drinking a pint at his local. “I’m thinking it’s because I knew I was going to have to talk about this.”
“This” is an event that concerns Madden’s character in the HBO series Game of Thrones. If you’re not fully up to date with the show, scram. This is your spoiler alert. In an episode watched by half a million UK viewers on Sky Atlantic in June, Madden was killed off savagely and with so little warning that some (honestly, there’s video proof) leapt off their sofas.
In the aftermath Twitter went all capitalised and intense. US talkshow host Conan O’Brien called it “the most stunning thing any of us have seen in television. Maybe ever”. Madden, months later, says he’s still approached by the traumatised. “Just yesterday a guy came up to me, crushed. He asked, ‘Why would someone do this?’”
It’s a question, really, for George RR Martin, the American author whose novels have been adapted by HBO. Martin’s fiction takes place in a cruel, medieval-like world, where murder is commonplace. The author seems to revel in it, killing off popular, morally spotless characters knowing his readers (with their soppy, modern notions of fairness) won’t see it coming.
What it all means for those cast in the TV version is that when new episodes are hacked out of Martin’s long books, and scripts are distributed, “you get a lot of terrified actors,” says Madden, “tearing through the pages going ‘Do I die? Do I die?!’”
Madden, 27, who grew up in Elderslie, Renfrewshire, 15 miles from Glasgow, knew his character was doomed from the outset. He had worked in theatre (Romeo at the Globe) before being cast as Thrones’ youthful lordling, Robb Stark, in 2009. Senior producers admitted to Madden, early, that they couldn’t wait to get to the filming of his slaying. And on his first day on set, crew and cast approached, asking, “My God, do you know how you’re going to die?”
He managed to stay ignorant of the details for a few years. “I made a deliberate effort not to read ahead.” Madden’s girlfriend is the Doctor Who actor Jenna Coleman, so theirs is a household well practised in spoiler containment. One night, though, Madden risked a Google search …
Updated the gallery with more photos from the 70th Venice International Film Festival (A Promise photocall + premiere), a new photoshoot and a SDCC related scan from TV Guide August 26th issue. Many thanks to Claudia and Olivia for their help with these pics!
PUBLIC APPEARANCES > The 70th Venice International Film Festival – Une Promesse Preniere [+7]
PHOTOSHOOTS & PHOTOCALLS > Session 017 [+1]
MAGAZINE SCANS > TV Guide: August 26, 2013 [+1]
A new outtake from the TV Guide Magazine photobooth has been added to the gallery and it features Richard with Emilia!
Added in the gallery a new still from A Promise, a new “outtake” from the TV Guide Magazine photoshoot at the SDCC 2013 and a new pic from the GoT Panel thanks to Jenny!
Hello everyone! As promised here I am with more SDCC updates! Added some more twitter/instragram pics and the EW Portratis together with the BTS from the TV Guide one (let’s hope in the shoot soon!) and some more stills from Game of Thrones Season 3 have been added as well to the gallery!